MSU Study on Distracted Driving Means More Enforcement Locally
In Michigan, it's already illegal to type, read, or send text messages while driving, but soon law enforcement around the state, including agencies in West Michigan, will be stepping up enforcement of the law to help with a study funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Fox 17 reports that researchers from MSU are using a two-week period to try to determine if safety messages actually affect driver behavior regarding texting as well as working with Michigan State Police, Kent County Sherrif’s Office along with Grand Rapids and Wyoming police departments to determine effective methods of enforcing Michigan’s distracted driving laws.
What that means, according to Fox 17, is the participating police departments will be doing around 1,000 hours of enforcement as well as using portable messaging signs which will also be displaying messages on texting and cellphone use.
So if you’re still someone who tries to multitask while driving, law enforcement officers will be looking for you and writing more tickets. While Fox 17 doesn’t explain tactics that will be used in the two-week enforcement period, in the past we’ve seen officers in unmarked cars, and even semi-trucks watching drivers and reporting violators to officers stationed ahead along the roadway. The NY Post also had a story about officers posing as panhandlers as well as bicyclists watching drivers at stoplights.
Distracted driving is becoming quite a deadly problem, Fox 17 reports that recently the state reported 70 fatality accidents because of distracted driving.